Saturday, 23 February, 2019

National Enquirer owner defends reporting on Amazon's Bezos

Jeff Bezos accuses the National Enquirer of 'extortion and blackmail' Jeff Bezos pens a blog post suggesting he was blackmailed by National Enquirer
Kelvin Reese | 09 February, 2019, 03:30

In the latest edition of "our world is a weird godawful mess", Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos published a blog post on Medium accusing American Media, Inc., owner of the National Enquirer, of extortion and blackmail.

On Thursday, Bezos published several emails that he and his security chief Gavin de Becker received from AMI officials, which he said were created to blackmail him into dropping an investigation he launched into how the National Enquirer got hold of intimate text messages and photos of him and Lauren Sanchez.

According to emails Mr Bezos posted, a lawyer for American Media Inc (AMI), the Enquirer's parent company, offered a deal on Wednesday - the tabloid would not post the photos if Mr Bezos and his investigators released a public statement "affirming that they have no knowledge or basis" to suggest that the Enquirer's coverage was "politically motivated or influenced by political forces".

Bezos published the letter from AMI yesterday, in which the firm apparently told the Washington Post owner they had naked pictures of him.

Bezos says he was the target of "extortion and blackmail" by American Media.

"In light of the nature of the allegations published by Mr. Bezos, the Board has convened and determined that it should promptly and thoroughly investigate the claims". It says it'll take "whatever appropriate action is necessary".

Bezos' revelation steps up a war of words with a confidant of U.S. President Donald Trump, who's been critical of Amazon and its founder.

The first whiff of controversy came January 9 when Bezos posted a statement on Twitter, signed by him and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie, announcing plans to divorce. "I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out", he added.

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"It's unavoidable that certain powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude I am their enemy", Bezos wrote. AMI has entered into a non-prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors in NY and is cooperating in the investigation into its payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal to suppress a story about her claimed affair with Trump.

"Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I´ve chose to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten", Bezos wrote. Pecker has numerous ties to Donald Trump, even paying off one of the president's mistresses in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign.

He said the company had wanted him to stop investigating how they had obtained his private messages. Prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY already picked Pecker's brain and his organization's records for anything they could use in their case against Cohen, which was apparently enough to get him off with a warning.

Prosecutors could tear up a plea deal with the National Enquirer's publishers after they allegedly threatened to publish intimate photos of Jeff Bezos, it has been claimed.

According to Bezos, the media firm had promised not to publish "d*ck pics" of him if he agreed to certain conditions.

Ronan Farrow, the New Yorker's Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who has reported on the National Enquirer, said in a tweet Thursday night that AMI attempted to blackmail him.

-Martin Singer, de Becker's legal counsel. He claims that "numerous" people have told their investigative team that they received and gave into blackmail threats from AMI.

'As a part of the agreement, AMI admitted that it made the $150,000 payment in concert with a candidate's presidential campaign, and in order to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate before the 2016 presidential election, ' NY officials said previous year.

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